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Speech and language team boosts patients’ recovery PAGE 5 Helping restore the power of speech in patients who have had a stroke.

Here come the heroes PAGE 4


For Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust staff and volunteers


IN THE MAKING Hospital history was made earlier this month when Shopland deputy ward manager Marilena Stoica had her marriage to Florin Neacsu blessed in our hospital chapel.

The happy occasion, attended by friends and colleagues from across the hospital and outside, followed the exchange of marriage vows at a Southend Civic Centre ceremony earlier that day. The couple met at a Christmas party in their native Romania last year and it was, says Marilena, ‘love at first sight’. Florin is an assistant chemistry professor and Marilena had just finished her degree project on research literature reviews, so they got engrossed in some serious scientific conversations!

Marilena opted for the chapel venue as she has got to know chaplain Fr Graham Crook well since she started working here in December 1999. She said: “I have no family here so at times when I felt lonely or down I went to have a chat with him. He has been fantastic and is so passionate about his job. He puts so much heart into it.” Fr Graham said: “The hospital chapel is not licensed for weddings so it has been a great privilege for me to perform this blessing. It is such an unusual occurrence.”

And it was a very special day for Shopland patient Kathleen King, who came off a drip especially so that she could attend in a wheelchair with her husband Robert. Mrs King said: “All the staff have been really lovely and I have become very fond of Marilena so was thrilled to be there.” The bride looked dazzling in a beaded ivory silky dress with a bouquet of cream roses. After a reception at the Rendezvous Casino in Southend, the couple left for a 10-day honeymoon in Turkey. We wish them every happiness in their life together.

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The six Cs take centre stage at staff conference More than 100 of our nurses and midwives who got together for their annual Nursing and Midwifery Conference were reminded of the six Cs which form the backbone of good care. The essence of commitment, competence, care, compassion, communication and courage were outlined by Emma Dowling, matron for infection prevention and control and Karen Kinnear, clinical nurse manager in critical care -

with invaluable help from medical photographer Linda Murray in producing illustrative videos. It was a great occasion for learning about other areas, meeting colleagues and sharing knowledge and expertise. Pictured enjoying the day are (l to r): Cath Comery, Kathy Maloney, Karis Cameron and Phil Raby.

TIME to heal wounds A new wound assessment care plan has been introduced on the wound management unit. Developed by associate CNS Nicky Stone and Urgo Medical, the plan includes a chart that will improve the recording of treatment and boost patient care.

The document is based on TIME (tissue, inflammation, moisture and edge) - the European Wound Management Association’s key principles of holistic wound assessment. Nicky said: “The aim is to provide consistent communication, detailed monitoring and excellent wound care.”

Café culture for newborns Maternity support workers Julie Macdonald and Julie Housden have been busy helping new mums during the early days of breastfeeding and then going out to local cafes in the SS9 postcode area to keep up the

good work. Judging by this turnout, there are going to be lots of happy healthy babies in the locality. Infant feeding advisor Julie Newby (it is clearly a profession for the

Julies of this world!), said: “From the feedback we have received from grateful new mums, this is a service which is hugely appreciated and also brings mothers and babies together for some valuable social contact.”

A boxful of nostalgia Rummaging through a toolbox containing sets of dominoes, playing cards, keys, old photographs and other familiar items is proving an effective way of calming some of our older patients when they become agitated or anxious.

The day assessment unit now has around 20 memory boxes thanks to a grant from our charitable funds and the success of members at Southend- on-Sea Slimming World group. The group’s interest was triggered by DAU manager Louisa Brown who was named their ‘woman of the year’ last year after losing fourand-a-half stone in just 12 months. Despite her new svelte figure, Louisa has remained a member to stop her slipping back and because she enjoys the social element. The group undertook a sponsored slim to raise £500 for the department. The popular Tiptree Toolboxes were first developed for patients with dementia at Colchester Hospital and have been modified for our own patients by falls practitioner

Kate Chapman (right), who said: “Patients with dementia are twice as likely to have a fall. To stop them pacing around the ward, we can sit down with them and use the contents of the boxes to have a meaningful conversation about their reminiscences and life story. We are finding this has a very calming effect.”

may have worked with figures, some coloured pencils and a bright yellow duster.”

Louisa (left) added: “We had already bought four boxes with the charity funding so when the group was looking for a local charity to support, I suggested they might like to provide some more. We are really grateful to the members as the boxes are proving invaluable for focusing the attention of some of our vulnerable patients.”

“Patients with dementia are prone to ‘sundowning’ – becoming more confused in the late afternoon or early evening. In an unfamiliar environment, the toolboxes provide a focus.

The contents also include a big-piece jigsaw, a calculator for patients who

A delighted Christine Timms, dementia CNS, said: “We must do all we can to prevent falls which can cause pain, injury, loss of confidence and independence and increase the patient’s length of stay.

“It is hoped that eventually there will be one toolbox in every adult ward and the Slimming World group has certainly made a huge contribution to achieving this.”

Ah yes I remember it well More memories were stirred by longforgotten household goods, oldfashioned sweets and toys assembled on a reminiscence table to mark Dementia Awareness Week. Accompanied by music from the 1950s, the exhibition of nostalgia in the education centre was organised by clinical nurse specialists Christine Timms and Jill Ling (pictured), who

explained: “People with dementia usually find it easier to recall long-term rather than short-term memories.” They had a helping hand from registered mental nurse Raminder Sarna, support worker Mandy Edinboro and volunteer befriender Millie Bealing.

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You must remember this… …how could anyone ever forget the sight of pouting HCA Michael Daley all glammed up and gorgeous? Michael (pictured here right with his SEPT colleague Les Hodgson) helped organise last year’s highly successful Southend Hospital’s Got Talent show – and now he’s at it again. He and fellow impresario Caroline Diggin are currently scouting for acts to go into the spotlight at this year’s event on September 27 at Westcliff’s Palace Theatre.

He said: “We know from last year’s show that there is a whole load of untapped talent in the hospital and this is their big chance to be recognised.” The two luvvies from A&E are this year spreading their net farther afield to include acts from outside the hospital to provide a great evening’s entertainment and raise much-needed cash for our new A&E paediatric unit. Last year’s extravaganza raised around £4,000 for dementia patients and they are both hoping to rake in even more this time.

Auditions will be taking place at the Westcliff Hotel on July 8 and 24 from 4pm to 8pm. So, if you’ve got what it takes and want to strut your stuff, download an application form: www.southendhospitalsgottalent.

Here come the heroes HCA Tracey Wilkins is a ‘fantastic asset’ to the wards, say those who know her. One of our night shift staff on Hockley colorectal ward, Tracey gives outstanding support to her colleagues and thinks nothing of covering extra shifts when needed even at short notice and despite also caring for her mother at home. Her organisational skills are ‘second to none’ and she always works with her patients’ best interests in mind. One grateful senior colleague added: “If I am on a difficult shift, Tracey is the best support you could ask for. It is hard to pinpoint just one example of how she goes above and beyond her role.” Such glowing acclaim earned Tracey the employee of the month title for May.

Hard on her heels was Nikki Baines, principal physiologist in the heart and chest department. Nikki is a whizz at arranging moraleboosting events for the department. Past triumphs include a bake-off, a swimathon and pounding the equivalent of the London Marathon on a treadmill. When the department’s counselling area needed a facelift, she contacted companies for donations of furniture and equipment – all the time making sure they adhered to our safety standard. Nikki has an open door policy for all staff, is highly dependable, motivational and resourceful. No surprises that she received a highly commended award.

And finally, we applaud Sister Stephanie Clark who could not be at April’s presentation to receive her highly commended award. Stephanie, who works in the oncology and radiotherapy oncology OPD, is another member of our staff who cares for patients and colleagues alike. She provides the best possible advice, support and physical, social and psychological care for patients and ensures that her staff have the skills and knowledge necessary for their roles. Adverse weather conditions never prevent her from turning up for work from her Chelmsford home and she regularly stays on to do extra hours for patients who are unwell or awaiting admission from clinic.

Tracey will be pictured collecting her award next month as she was on annual leave at the time of presenting.

Nikki Baines with Colin Cadwallader director of facilities

nie Clark Sister Stepha

dwallader with Colin Ca cilities director of fa

Speech and language team boosts patients’ recovery Our speech and language therapy is coming on in leaps and bounds. From having no in-house therapists three years ago, we have now built up a seven-strong team of experts working across the hospital. As the name implies, the service plays an invaluable role in helping restore the power of speech in patients who have had a stroke. But what many of us don’t realise is that they are also crucial to helping patients with dysphagia (difficulty or inability to swallow) – and that could be up to 65% of our inpatient population at any one time. The team, which was set up by rehab community service manager, Jackie Holmes, is led by Eric Foggitt. It comprises Helen Sturgess, who works with head and neck cancer patients; Anna Allen, Mark Allinson and Hannah Doubleday on the stroke unit, and recent graduates Heather Ruff and Greg Heather who, with Eric, cover the acute wards including A&E, AMU and DME. Greg said: “We play a really crucial role in patients’ recovery. If they cannot communicate, eat or drink that has a huge impact on their quality of life.”

Equally important is raising awareness of dysphagia, its causes and effects, among other clinical staff. Eric said: “The main thing we do is minimise the risk of patients developing aspiration pneumonia (caused by taking food, saliva, water or vomit into their lungs) which can frequently happen with a range of conditions including head and neck cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and respiratory problems as well as those in ITU.” After a thorough assessment, therapists devise tailored exercises for individual patients, advise on a modified diet and talk through the condition with patients and their families. Despite only being up and running for a few months, the team has already built up an impressive track record. Stroke patients have been able to hold lengthy conversations only a few short weeks after being unable to speak and one heart patient due to be sent home with a feeding tube learned to swallow again. Jackie said: “Three years ago we had no idea what the needs of the hospital were and relied on a

succession of locum speech and language therapists from London. I identified what posts were needed and started to recruit to our stroke service. Then came the head and neck cancer service which is an ongoing piece of work. The last part of the puzzle was to cover the acute wards. It took a while to prove the need for a team of professionals to enhance patient care and meet governance needs.” Jackie now plans to boost the team still further to expand the vital service. Next on the agenda is fibre-optic endoscopy evaluation of swallowing (FEES) equipment which can be used to assess patients at their bedside. And she also believes the team have an important part to play in the community, liaising with nursing and rest homes to help prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital.

Referrals can be made via the front page of STAFFnet, or the team can be contacted by email at, by calling 6694 or on bleep 1103.

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Everything in PLACE for a top-quality environment We all know how our surroundings can affect our mood and sense of well-being. Cleanliness, privacy, good nutrition and a safe, comfortable environment are even more important for a hospital patient – they all contribute towards a good recovery. We have just recruited and trained a group of volunteers to help with our annual patient-led assessments of the care environment (PLACE) – yearly snapshots taken to see our hospital

from the user’s viewpoint and how it can be bettered. PLACE takes the place of PEAT as the national system for assessing the quality of patients’ environments, with a remit to provide a clear message – straight from the patient - on how the environment or services might be improved. Colin Cadwallader, director of estates and facilities, said: “Good environments don’t just happen.

All staff need to be on the lookout for where standards fall short so they can be rectified promptly for everyone’s benefit.” Groups of up to six inspectors – staff and volunteers – were due to visit wards and other areas earlier this month. Following analysis by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, we will receive our final results and have the opportunity to respond to any suggestions before the findings are published nationally.

Learning leap They all look very calm and serene at the moment – but next month this heroic half-dozen will be stepping into the unknown to help our patients with learning disabilities. Sam James, Lydia Woods, Richard Draper, Julie Lander, Margaret-Ann Girvan and Nicola Carter have signed up to a fundraising skydive. Cash raised will go towards improving how we communicate with learning disability patients, their carers

and families - starting with an introductory DVD. Production is already underway and a series of other films is in the pipeline. Each member of the team has pledged to raise £395. You can help them in their mission by visiting or by filling in a sponsorship form. Contact Nicola Carter on ext 5567 for more information.

A&E update Work to create a dedicated paediatric area in our A&E department is in full swing with the first phase now complete. The next stage is currently under way with majors and resus getting a revamp to make room for the special self-contained area, which will provide four treatment bays and a

separate triage room for our younger patients. Some ward moves have taken place over the last few weeks in preparation: AMU1 has decanted to George Foster Taylor and A&E majors and resus have temporarily relocated to AMU1 while the major part of

the building works is completed. Consequently, if you receive a fast bleep or a crash call please remember to listen carefully to the location. The new paediatric area will be ready for action at the end of July as AMU1, A&E majors and A&E resus return to their original locations.

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Dr Neal Samuels Dr Neal Samuels, consultant anaesthetist who has joined us from Barts and the London Hospital. Born and bred in Southend, Neal Dr Neal Samuels left Westcliff High School to study pharmacology, going on to work for the mighty global charitable foundation, the Wellcome Trust. While there he decided a medical career was for him and, with his pharmacological skills, anaesthetics seemed the most logical specialism. Working in a London tertiary centre, he concentrated on head and neck work, mostly ‘difficult airway’ patients such as those with pharynx or throat cancer. Now he is planning to focus on pre-operative optimisation to ensure the best possible outcome for patients following their surgery. With four children aged between three and nine, spare time is at a premium but when he does get the chance he enjoys squash and cycling.

Farewell to...

Liz Thres

Assistant librarian Liz Thres is leaving the hushed oasis of our Liz Thres hospital library after 23 years’ service to spend more time with her husband and daughters and to indulge her passion for gardening. She said; “I’ve met some lovely people. The real joy has been the variety of the work.”

Pauline Sinclair

Pauline Sinclair

HCA Pauline Sinclair has retired after 38 years, during which time she worked on Kitty Hubbard, Princess Anne and Balmoral wards. Pauline said: “I’ve had some great laughs throughout the years.” She is pictured enjoying her leaving ‘do’ in the Balmoral ward gym.

An Apolog y Sincere apologies to the friends and families of the late Margaret Dalton and Shirley Waygood for the wrongly captioned photo in last month’s Look.

Congratulations to... Jonathan Croombes Pharmacy porter Jonathan Croombes for his prize-winning video clip during our Everybody Matters Week earlier this year – he gets a chocolate hamper for the quality and content of his performance.

Jonathan Croombes

Brit House Team This intrepid Brit House team - (l to r) Johnny Lau, systems integration analyst, David Robinson, programme management office manager, Paul Tracy, web applications developer and Alan Tuckwood, interim director of IT - for Brit House team successfully completing the Three Peaks (Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdon) challenge. After just missing the time target on their first attempt last year, this expedition was a breeze and they conquered the mighty trio with 28 minutes to spare. The only casualty on the trip was the Bosom Pals fundraising teddy mascot – tragically lost somewhere on the ascent of Scafell Pike! Now the team – including programme office manager and driver Cath Abrams, who spent 11 gruelling hours at the wheel - is turning its attention to the Yorkshire Three Peaks. An earlier assault on them in April had to be abandoned due to deep snow. You can reward them for their sterling efforts and boost our Bosom Pals On The Road appeal by going to

Wanjiku Waweru Our newly-elected worker governor, Wanjiku Waweru, a data clerk in our surgical business unit. Wanjiku promises to be a force to be reckoned with: she wants to aweru understand why things are done the Wanjiku W way they are, likes to see how what is happening in different areas of the hospital contributes to the trust’s objectives, is not overawed by authority and enjoys asking questions. Kenyan-born Wanjiku, who formerly worked for the UN World Food Programme in some of the world’s war zones, said: “I want to help hold the executives to account, not just rubber stamp their decisions. If I don’t understand something, I will ask for it to be clarified. I am not troublesome – I just want to know. I have a desire for results, but I am not afraid to look a fool.”

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Dates for the Diary June FRI


Launch of nominations for our Annual Staff Achievement Awards

Nominations forms will be available on STAFFnet from this date, ahead of our presentation ceremony in September. There are six categories so make sure you nominate your colleagues who have gone above and beyond to ensure they get the recognition they deserve. The employee of the year winner will be chosen from those nominated in our monthly awards scheme. July SAT


Colourthon (moonlight/ twilight/sunshine)

Organised by Southend Round Table in aid of Bosom Pals On The Road or a ward or department of your choice. For all ages and fitness levels. Pre-registration vital.

July SUN


The Kirste 5 memorial race and 1-mile family run

10am from Grove Wood primary school, Rayleigh in aid of Bosom Pals Appeal on The Road. Details from


28 28 SUN

and every Sunday in August Late Riser summer boot sales Hospital car park D in aid of Bosom Pals On The Road Appeal

All sellers must book in advance. Contact fundraising department on ext 5337 for further details.

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Look June 2013